Bright Side Education Recent News

Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation Distributes Critical PPE to Northeasterners on Frontlines of COVID-19

North Kingstown, RI – January 12, 2021 – Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation has leveraged its global supply chain to provide hundreds of thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare organizations and municipalities.

In continuation of that effort, the Foundation is currently distributing more than $1.7 million worth of additional PPE to police and fire departments in the 142 communities where Ocean State Job Lot stores are located across the Northeast.

The donations include pallets of PPE including face shields, KN95 masks, antibacterial and disinfecting hand wipes, and hand sanitizer, for a total retail value of $12,000 to each community.

“As this global health crisis continues to take a toll on our healthcare and public safety systems, it’s imperative to provide any support and relief to our frontline workers that we can,” said David Sarlitto, Executive Director of the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation. “At OSJL, we’re deeply invested in philanthropy and community reinvestment, and these donations are just another example of our commitment to that as well as the incredible generosity of our customers. While we can’t ever repay our frontline workers for the lifesaving work that they do, we’ll continue to partner with our customers to do what we can to provide the tools necessary to make their jobs easier and keep them safe.”

Since late March 2020, OSJL has acquired and distributed more than $15 million worth of critical supplies needed in the fight against COVID-19, such as gloves, masks, disinfectants, sanitizers, eye protection, and more.

Prior to this new round of donations, the Foundation had already handed out more than 1.2 million surgical masks to those on the frontlines, including 4,800 to each police and fire department in the communities in which its stores are located.

In September, the Foundation distributed premium massage chairs, valued at nearly $7,000 each, to hospitals throughout the Northeast to provide healthcare workers with an opportunity to relieve stress.

These efforts are in addition to its many ongoing charitable activities, including OSJL’s ‘Mask Fabric for Free’ campaign, which supplied customers with the fabric necessary to create an estimated 1.8 million homemade cloth face masks.

About Ocean State Job Lot

Founded in 1977, Ocean State Job Lot is a growing, privately held discount retail chain with 142 stores in New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, approximately 5,600 employees, and annual sales of approximately $800 million.

Ocean State Job Lot sells brand name, first quality merchandise at closeout prices.

Shoppers find an ever-changing array of household goods, apparel, pet supplies, seasonal products (holiday, gardening, patio, pool and beach supplies), and kitchen pantry staples at a fraction of their typical price.

The company was named a “Best Midsize Employer” by Forbes Magazine three of the last four years.

The Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation has a long history of philanthropic leadership, supporting numerous causes, including feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, assisting veterans and military families, aiding animal rescue, caring for children, advancing healthcare, supporting the arts and promoting learning.

Ocean State Job Lot is headquartered at 375 Commerce Park Road in the Quonset Point Business Park, North Kingstown, RI 02852. Phone: (401) 295-2672; Web:

Education Recent News

Local McDonald’s® Celebrates Teachers with Free “Thank You Treats”

To acknowledge and celebrate teachers for their tireless commitment to students and the community, local McDonald’s in the North and Central New Jersey areas will show their appreciation with free unlimited “Thank You Treats” from Jan. 6-15, 2021.

Redeemable any time of day with a valid school I.D. and at participating restaurants, this new initiative shares McDonald’s expression of gratitude and underscores our commitment to the education community as teachers manage an unusual school year.

Teachers are working harder than ever and over-extending themselves to navigate an unfolding landscape brought by the pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic local McDonald’s have been committed to finding ways to continue being good neighbors and supporting its communities.

Today, McDonald’s would like to say “thank you” with this small expression of our immense gratitude for their contributions to educating one student at a time.

“We are honored to support our local teachers who have overcome many challenges amid the pandemic and have continued to adapt their teaching models to educate the students in our community,” said Katie Hunt-Rotolo, a McDonald’s owner/operator. “These educators are truly the backbone of our community and we are proud to show our appreciation any way we can.”

For many years, McDonald’s and its owner operators have been supporters of education through partnerships with local schools and Archways to Opportunity, an initiative that offers educational programs to eligible employees at participating restaurants.

Archways to Opportunity provides increased access to education for nearly 55,000 people annually.

Of those, 39,000 plus restaurant employees are awarded College Tuition Assistance each year.

The “Thank You Treats” spotlights the new trio of Bakery Sweets – Apple Fritter, Blueberry Muffin and Cinnamon Roll – and the offer free of charge is complete with an any size hot coffee.

These new menu items are available all day long and whether teachers are looking for a sweet complement to their morning coffee, an afternoon pick-me-up following a long day in the classroom, or just deserving of a sweet treat, this new lineup offers them a self-indulgent break.

This breakfast trio is the latest innovation for McDonald’s, which has been a leader in breakfast for almost 50 years, serving delicious fan favorites like the Egg McMuffin, sausage burritos and McGriddles.

These craveable options will be offered alongside our beloved McCafé cookies and pies, marking the first addition of bakery items to McDonald’s core menu in over eight years.

McDonald’s continues its focus to help the communities we serve continue to recover since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

About McDonald’s USA

McDonald’s USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to nearly 25 million customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women.

For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and Facebook.

Education Feature Stories

Gloucester County Vocational-Technical and Special Services School District

Michael C. Dicken, Superintendent of the Gloucester County Special Services School District and the Gloucester County Vocational-Technical School District, on behalf of the Board of Education announces the 2020-21 Employees of the Year.

These outstanding individuals listed below represent each of their schools, programs, and districts well.


Teacher – Stephen DePasquale
Educational Services Professional – Bryan Vahey
Support Staff – Colleen Simmons


Bankbridge Regional School
Teacher – Brendon Green
Educational Services Professional – Ryan Stahl
Paraprofessional – Deborah (Debbie) Riccardi

Bankbridge Elementary School
Teacher – Lisa Nanfara
Educational Services Professional – Yunique Blakney
Paraprofessional – Karrie Lamb

Bankbridge Development Center
Teacher – Maria Genoese
Educational Services Professional – Kathleen (Katy) Fogle
Paraprofessional – Darin Timberman

Support Staff
Sean McEnroe

Non Public Programs
Educational Services Professional – Icely Moss

Center for Regional Education Support Services (CRESS)
Educational Services Professional – Renee Delre

Community Calendar Education

CSI Virtual Winter Class For Students in Grades 6-12

If you are looking for a fun, safe, and virtual class for your student to learn about how STEM concepts are used in solving crimes, look no further.

The national CSI Virtual class is geared for students in grades 6 through 12.

There is a $20 discount for current and/or former police, fire, EMS, and military families.

Click here to be directed to the registration page.

Bright Side Education

Shawnee High School Teacher of the Year & Educational Services Professional of the Year

Medford, NJ – Shawnee High School proudly congratulates our Teacher of the Year, Renée Toliver, of the World Languages Department, and Educational Services Professional of the Year, Lauren Szemere of the Child Study Team.

Renée Toliver, in her eighteenth year as a Spanish Teacher at Shawnee, has been the head coach of the field hockey team for the past fifteen years and co-advises the Class of 2022.

She also serves on the “VOICES” committee at Shawnee (Various Opportunities for Instructional Cooperative Experiences and Support), where she leads “Collegiality Café’s”, which are opportunities for staff members to run short professional development sessions for other staff members.

She also earned her Master’s Degree in Spanish Language & Culture from the University of Salamanca in Spain.

Lauren Szemere has sixteen years of experience in education, including the last six in her current role as Learning Disabilities Teaching Consultant at both Cherokee and Shawnee.

Lauren works to support teachers, students, and families in academic, social, and emotional learning and currently serves on the Intervention and Referral Services team.

Photo of Shawnee Educational Services Professional of the Year Lauren Szemere credit: Christian Hochenberger


The Lenape Regional High School District’s four high schools – Lenape, Shawnee, Cherokee, and Seneca – as well as the Sequoia Alternative Program, educate approximately 6,800 students from eight communities in Burlington County, NJ.

The communities served include Evesham, Medford, Medford Lakes, Mount Laurel, Shamong, Southampton, Tabernacle, and Woodland.

The Lenape Regional District is among the highest-achieving districts
in the state, with an average graduation rate of 96% and an average combined SAT score of 1144.

A leader in progressive education, the LRHSD’s mission is to develop physically and emotionally healthy students who excel in an ever-changing world.